Hi all,

I' m just wondering what is the difference in meaning between the following two sentences.

It's not so easy being male vs. It's not so easy to be male

In particular, is the first sentence grammatical? That sentence reminds me of "nice meeting you!".

Is it safe to say that the first sentence has the same grammatical structure as that of "nice meeting you"?

Thank you for your answer in advance!!

scw
New Member42
I believe that the gerund (being male) indicates the speaker (or, alternatively, it) has been in the state of being male for some time. A female speaker can't say this; she should use the infinitive (to be) to indicate an abstract concept. The gerund usually indicates something real with a duration, while the infinitive indicates something abstract. I like singing: you like the actual, real action of singing; you sing. I like to sing: you like the abstract activity in general; you do not necessarily sing.
Regular Member587
"Being male is not Emotion: football easy," is grammatical in my opinion. It's not missing anything, while "Nice meeting you" lacks a subject and a verb.

Both the versions you quote are often used with the same intention. I think it's just another case of the infinitive and the gerund being interchangeable. The gerund is probably more common, as in the popular song, "It's Not Easy Being Green." To me, it stresses the daily business of "being," more than does the infinitive.
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Thank you for your answer!!
Anonymous:
One book says something that may be helpful. Its examples are (a) It is nice seeing you(b) It is nice to see you. The author suggests that -ing refers to the action; to - implies the situation "in general." "It is not easy BEING a male" perhaps (perhaps!) = emphasizes the responsibilities put on males (be the breadwinner, defend his woman, avoid crying, etc.) while "It is not easy TO BE a male" might (might!) = a less emotional statement of fact. For example, if you run into an old friend, it would be more emotional to say, "Wow! It's nice seeing you after all these years!" instead of "Hello. It is nice to see you."
This is the same old problem: infinitive or gerund?
It's not easy to find a rule of thumb, you just have to follow... your instinct. But I just wrote "It's not easy to find..." and not "It's not easy finding...".
My rule of thumb that is supposed to keep me out of trouble is to use the infinitive, unless it's the subject.
Finding a rule is difficult.
It's difficult to find a rule.

Sometimes I can't make up my mind though, and I guess there's little difference:

The most difficult thing was to answer all the questions in time.
The most difficult thing was answering all the questions in time.

Just my random opinion. Emotion: smile
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